When I was a little girl, I so badly wanted to be involved in the Thanksgiving preparations, but could not be trusted with knives. So for the first few Thanksgivings I can remember, my official job title was “table decorator”, and boy did I take that job seriously.
I used to sketch out what the table would look like weeks before my mom would even begin planning the menu. As soon as Fall started, I began collecting colorful fallen leaves and storing them in a ziplock bag beneath my bed, so that I would be prepared when it came time to building my masterful centerpiece. I still remember the hand-traced turkeys with wonky, misspelled names that adorned the plates when I was first enlisted for the job, and the glitter mess that lasted for weeks when I thought sparkly pumpkins would be a good idea for a centerpiece.
While I’ve been old enough to help out in the kitchen for a long time, the table decorations have remained a personal tradition, and to me, are (almost) as important as the food. This year for Thanksgiving I am traveling to my mom’s house in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am beyond excited for a week of much needed mom time (anyone else as excited for the Gilmore girls revival as we are?!). We will be cooking the whole Thanksgiving dinner for our close friends and I, of course, will decorate. Here are three different place card ideas that I’ve come up with for the table this year; I will be using the gold leaves, a sophisticated decoration that isn’t too difficult so I can focus on what really matters… the food!
Until last week, I had never seen a persimmon before. A good friend handed me one that she got at the Hollywood Farmer’s market and I instantly thought of a pumpkin, a smooth and dainty little pumpkin. Festive and vibrant – a perfect addition to a thanksgiving table. To make this, I curled a piece of thin copper wire about 7 times using the tip of my scissors, then pulled it apart to make a coil. I then inserted the coil into the top of the persimmon. I curled another piece of wire two or three times, and left it curled so that it could hold the name tag, which was a small rectangular piece of card stock. I inserted the name tag, and that’s it!
I recently bought a large pack of colorful paper and had fun layering the different colors to make these striped place cards. These are so easy, but I love the vibrant and funky edge they bring to the table. Simply layer the sheets of paper in the order you would like them (I used six sheets); the stripes should look exactly how you want them to on the cards. Then glue the sheets of paper together and cut them into rectangles. Bend the rectangles in half, so that one side has the stripes on it. I used a thin black sharpie pen to write the names, careful to do so on a lighter color to create contrast.
I found these pretty leaves at Michaels, but they could easily be done using real leaves if you happen to live somewhere that has seasons. For these place cards, I used gold acrylic paint to coat the leaves, then wrote the names in the center with a fine sharpie pen. I used the tip of my scissors to twist thin copper wire so that it would hold the leaf, and again at the bottom to create a spiral stand. While these are easy to make, they as also incredibly elegant and will surely impress your guests.